7th U.S. Open | July 13-16, 1901
Myopia Hunt Club, South Hamilton, Mass.
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|Willie Anderson, Scotland||84||-||83||-||83||-||81||—||331|
|Alex Smith, Scotland||82||-||82||-||87||-||80||—||331|
|Willie Smith, Scotland||84||-||86||-||82||-||81||—||333|
|Stewart Gardner, Scotland||86||-||82||-||81||-||85||—||334|
|Laurie Auchterlonie, Scotland||81||-||85||-||86||-||83||—||335|
|Bernard Nicholls, England||84||-||85||-||83||-||83||—||335|
This was a significant U.S. Open on a couple of fronts: For starters, it was the first of the career 33 U.S. Open playoffs, which Anderson (85) won by a shot over Smith (86).
The 18-hole stroke-play playoff is the oldest format in golf — all of the other major championships (Masters, British Open, PGA Championship) used it at one point. Only the U.S. Open has retained it.
But even the USGA tried different other formulas than what is used today.
In those early U.S. Opens, if the golfers were still tied after 18 holes, they played another 18.
Smith had a chance to win the tournament in regulation, but missed a makeable putt on the final hole. A playoff ensued Monday — not Sunday, because the course was reserved for member play — and Smith held a five-stroke lead with five holes to play.
But he suffered a meltdown, including the final hole where he missed a 4-footer to extend the tournament.
This started quite a streak for Anderson, who eventually won four U.S. Opens — and became the only man to win three in a row (1903-05).